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People often call science fiction to be the “thinking man’s genre.” They point to acclaimed masterpieces like Metropolis, 2001: A Space Odyssey and the original Blade Runner as examples of how the genre can challenge our preconceive understanding the world around us and what promise – or peril – the future might bring.
Although not as well-known as many other pillars of the genre, Alex Garland is one of the best there is at what he does. And while many of his contemporaries are turning to science fiction as escapist spectacle, he is a clear adherent to original function.
Debut - Ex - Machina - Meditation - Advent
His directorial debut, Ex Machina, was a sobering meditation on what the advent of truly intelligent machines would mean to Humans, whose central character, the mechanical Ava, was a cold, calculating take on the classic femme fatale archetype. It earned him his first Oscar nomination (for his work writing the screenplay) and was hailed as a classic sci-fi film.
Garland’s work as a writer is somewhat larger and better known, but still pails in terms of its quantity compared to others working in his field. His first screenplay was for 2002’s 28 Days Later, a reimagining of the zombie horror genre set in an isolated, extraordinarily depopulated Britain. He followed that up with a second collaboration with director Danny Boyle, 2007’s Sunshine, which followed a crew trying to reignite the rapidly dying sun. He’s also penned the scripts for Never Let Me Go, cult classic action movie Dredd and the upcoming Halo.
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